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MONTHS BEFORE: Train appropriately and safely for your event distance and terrain. Running or walking a race untrained is inviting a less-than-fun experience and possible injury.
Cut back on your training a little towards the end of the week (it’s called “tapering”).
Take the day before the race off or take an easy walk, swim or bike ride.
Get some good sleep for 2-3 nights before. Don’t panic if you have one bad night.
Hydrate well for the days leading up to and the day of the event.
Invite your family to come with you to cheer you on. Perhaps you’ll inspire them!
Take it easy ... no new sports or strenuous gardening or unusual activity.
For dinner - eat something easily digestible … pasta, soup, chicken, etc.
Check the weather and plan your outfit for race day. If the weather is “iffy,” plan to layer your clothing. Bring warm clothes for before and after. Some races offer baggage storage.
DAY OF EVENT: (Most races are morning events – light food intake close to your start time.)
Wake up early enough to feel loose and awake.
Optional – light breakfast (examples - coffee, juice, banana, toast, etc). Make it easily digestible.
Arrive at the race site at least 30-60 minutes before the race. This depends on the size of the race field, parking congestion, registration procedures and portajohn availability!
Check in at registration to get your bib number or transponder chip and any race goodies.
Pin bib number on front of shirt or shorts (not on your back).
Porta-john toilet lines are notoriously long (especially at an all-women’s event). Plan ahead!
Listen to announcements
Warm up a little. It’s a good idea to walk or jog easy about 10 minutes before your event, so plan ahead. Then stretch.
Line up according to your expected pace (minutes per mile signs are sometimes used) or a bit faster.
When the race starts, stay relaxed, loose … hold back your pace a little. There is a tendency to get caught up in the excitement and go out at too fast a pace. DON’T DO IT!!! Wear a timing watch and watch for mile marks. There may be people calling out your time at the mile markers – they’re called splits people. This helps you know if you’re pacing yourself too fast or too slow. Your goal is to get to the 1 mile mark at a very reasonable, comfortable pace and then maybe get a little faster with each mile.
When you go across the finish line, look at the large digital clock for your total time or click off your watch. Finisher information is often posted on site or online later so find out where. Check it out!
There are usually refreshments … but be considerate of other participants behind you
Hang out. Be proud. Stay for the awards ceremony (you may have won something).
AFTER THE RACE:
Relax. Take a nap. Call your friends and brag. Check the race website if they have one.
You may be a little sore. Anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter drugs are good to help with this.
Take the next few days easy. If you’re sore, don’t run or walk for a few days. When you start back, start easy. They say you should not race or do speed work for one day for each mile of your event.
Record your event time, distance, pace per mile, place overall and in your age group. It’s a good benchmarks to watch your future improvement!
Click the icon below to download the attached PDF.